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Living in the US Virgin Islands might seem like a fantasy. But, with some careful planning for your retirement and a good, fundamental understanding of how island life differs from that on the mainland, your fantasy can easily become a reality.

You might have already asked yourself some questions like, ‘Is the US Virgin Islands a good place to retire?’ Or, ‘Can US Citizens retire in the Virgin Islands?’ Living in the US Virgin Islands as an expat is something you can do relatively easily.  And

Beyond saying ‘the weather is nice,’ let’s look at some of the plus sides of retiring to the US Virgin Islands.

1. The US Virgin Islands are a Tropical Retirement Paradise

The US Virgin Islands of St Thomas, St John, and St Croix are colloquially known as America’s “Caribbean Paradise.” Nestled within the Lesser Antilles and located to the east of Puerto Rico and the west of the British Virgin Islands, the USVI are sun-soaked, lush, and diverse islands of the Caribbean.

The USVI boasts activities that might appeal to any retiree. If you own a luxury boat or yacht or even enjoy simply watching them through your binoculars, St. Thomas is a favorite destination. Its harbors are packed with not only sailboats and gorgeous yachts but high-end shops and eateries that rival locations around the world.

St. Croix features more of a laid-back, almost suburban vibe. But, there is ample opportunity to explore and frolic in the sea with snorkeling, scuba diving, and other water sports.

Amazingly, the US Virgin Islands are also home to two bioluminescent bays.  Both Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve at the Altona Lagoon offer visitors a chance to experience what is often called nature’s “living lights.”

The high concentration of naturally-occurring bioluminescent microorganisms put on a show at night and are world-famous for their rich tapestry of marine life.

St. John is the most isolated of the three main islands, requiring travel by boat, ferry, or seaplane to reach its shores. It may be isolated, but there are still shops, restaurants, and adventures to be had.

All three of the US Virgin Islands feature the tropical weather that makes the Caribbean a major travel destination for people worldwide. The ocean water is essentially pollution-free and crystal clear, and the nighttime sky is wide open after the afternoon breeze sweeps away the humidity and clouds.

The twinkle of the stars overhead isn’t overwhelmed by industrial and residential lighting. Even a looming storm can be an incredible sight to behold.

 Why not retire to a favorite travel destination?

2. Easy Access for US citizens

The citizens of the USVI are American citizens. American citizens traveling from the mainland to the USVI don’t need a passport to move between the individual islands or travel back to the continental United States.

If you’ve asked yourself, ‘Can US Citizens Retire in the US Virgin Islands?’ The answer is yes.

This ability to move about relatively freely gives the USVI a tremendous advantage over many other retirement locations that feature the same tropical weather and island-living. Instead of passing through a passport check, American citizens can easily travel for return visits to the US.

You won’t be so isolated that you can’t return for holidays, visits, and your grandkids’ birthdays.

Moving to and living in the US Virgin Islands as an ex-pat is a great way to leverage your retirement assets into an idyllic lifestyle. But, you’re still far enough away that you can maintain your lifestyle without constant visitors cramping your style. And when you get back to your island, you still won’t need a passport.

It’s probably a good idea to keep your passport handy, though, because travel temptations abound, and you may wish to explore other islands in the region. Many of the nearby islands are foreign territories, and traveling to them will require you to carry a copy of your passport.

3. Easy Travel

Whether you’re on the Islands, journeying to another country, or traveling back and forth to the mainland US, traveling to and from the USVI is easy. Two major international airports serve the islands. Cyril E. King International Airport is on St. Thomas, and Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport is on St. Croix.

Both have daily, nonstop flights arriving from other major travel hubs. For Americans traveling to and from the USVI, you can expect easy travel to and from major cities in the US like New York, Newark,  Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Charlotte, Detroit, and Chicago.

You’ll never have to feel that far from home, regardless of which direction you’re going.

Many airlines from around the world also provide service to the US Virgin Islands and the surrounding area, so regional and international travel is also relatively easy.

4. Best Places to Retire in US Virgin Islands

Many people wonder where are the best places to retire in the US Virgin Islands? Well, after your plane touches down in the USVI, it won’t take long for you to experience a bit of a culture shock. Backfiring cars and the steady hum of busy, stateside city streets disappear when you’re on the USVI, and the locals replace them with the island rhythms of a steel drum.

Even if you come from a relatively peaceful environment on the mainland, the islands move at their own tranquil pace and with unique traditions, artwork, and experiences that vary across the individual cultures of St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John’s.

Living within that rich tapestry can make every single day seem like a new adventure. Residing within the community on a permanent basis can also open doors that remain closed to the typical temporary resident or traveler. Many of the local residents are used to the constant turnover and might even resent the transient nature of their oft-traveling neighbors.

But, a long-lasting residency is sure to help you develop deeper roots and friendships that can reveal some of the more hidden majesties of the US Virgin Islands. Charter fishing, historical folklore, and the architecture of the European powers’ time are all waiting for you to discover them. And they are best explored with a local leading the way.

With so much to do, see, and explore, every day of your retirement spent in the USVI may feel like you are on vacation. That’s the idea of retirement, though, isn’t it?

5. Easy Relocation

Residents of the United States Virgin Islands are subject to and governed by the statutes of the US as a protected territory. All the residents of and visitors to the island are under the protection of the US military and subject to the criminal laws of the United States.

So while you might be on ‘island time,’ the United States Postal Service still operates and delivers the mail and packages. You can send and receive cards and letters in the mail, just like back home on the mainland.

When there is a bad storm, the United States Coast Guard responds with the full weight of the federal government and its various agencies. FEMA is staged and ready to respond.

And, when something criminal happens, the police on the US Virgin Islands arrest the perpetrators, and they are held responsible for their actions in a court of law, just like in the rest of the United States.

If there is an international clash, the US Navy and Marines will protect the islands and your retirement paradise. They might even come to your aid after a particularly devastating storm.

Some of those scenarios might seem far off or unlikely, but when you’re in a tough situation in a remote corner of the world, it might be reassuring to know that Uncle Sam isn’t too far away.

And when it comes to how to move to the US Virgin Islands, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many mainlanders have already done so, and it is easy to find moving companies and logistics managers to assist you.

One piece of advice that many of them share is that it is often cheaper to buy new furniture locally after you move to the US Virgin Islands. If you are asking yourself how to retire to the US Virgin Islands, consider shipping your furniture from, say, Minnesota can be prohibitively expensive. Plus, the couch that looks great in your mainland house might not suit the tropical environment of the islands!

6. Americanized Essentials

Many islands and territories, both in the Caribbean and around the world, offer only rural and rustic infrastructure. In some cases, rustic might just be a euphemism for threadbare, dilapidated, or non-existent. But, in the USVI, essential services and infrastructure reflect their relationship with the US mainland.

USVI drivers use the left side of the road to travel. But their roads are typically paved and well-marked, a far cry from the dirt roads and trails that are more typical in the rest of the Caribbean islands.

The US Virgin Islands also boast strong and modern buildings, modern amenities, and reliable cellular and internet service in most residential areas. You can remain connected to your friends through the internet, texts, and calls. And you can do it from the comfort of your air-conditioned bedroom, in your house with traditional plumbing and water filtration systems.

Misty Dawn Stoddart

VP of Mortgage Lending, CMA, CMPS, Reverse Mortgage Specialist

NMLS #290023

Here at Loans by Misty, we have successfully funded over a billion dollars in residential mortgage loans of all types! We use our “outside of the box” thinking to help more clients than our competition!

We assist everyone ranging from first-time homebuyers, our Veterans, the more complex self-employed clients, and everyone in between. We make our clients’ loan experience stress-free and as simple as possible.

We have a true passion for exceeding expectations and getting the job done WELL! I have a true heart for philanthropy supporting many local charities, I love my “board” meetings on my paddleboard or snowboard, and I am an active mother of two great kids!

Serving 49 states

misty@loansbymisty.comCell: (562) 900 5065
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